Outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett will be released by Bucs

INDIANAPOLIS — The Bucs plan to release Shaquil Barrett, who holds the team’s single-season sack record and was a key player in their Super Bowl 55 win over Kansas City.

The veteran outside linebacker will be a post-June 1 designation for release when the new league year begins March 13, saving the Bucs about $5 million on the 2024 salary cap.

“He’s an incredible person as you guys all know,” Bucs general manager Jason Licht said Tuesday while at the NFL combine. “Obviously, a tremendous player. Calling him, letting him know on Friday, I did not want to make that call; at the same time, I did. I wanted to give him some time here to look for another team if that’s what he wants to do. ... He talked about how much the organization has done for him and meant to him, when actually, it should’ve been the other way around.

“(His wife) Jordanna, the whole family, they’ll always be Bucs and we’re always going to leave the door open for Shaq.”

Barrett struggled coming off a torn Achilles he suffered in 2022. He also was dealing with the April drowning death of his 2-year-old daughter, Arrayah.

In the past two seasons, Barrett produced only a combined 7.5 sacks.

The 31-year-old Barrett anticipated his release and spoke about it following the season.

“There’s a possibility,” Barrett said. “I’ve been around for a minute and I know with my contract and my production — and you’ve got some promising young guys, that could play a factor into it. But I would still love to be here.”

After signing as a free agent from the Broncos in 2019, Barrett burst onto the scene and led the NFL with 19.5 sacks.

But he only posted double-digit sacks again once, in 2021 when he had 10.

“I mean, it’s tough because you have the personal side,” coach Todd Bowles said. “You’ve known your guys for five years and the relationships you build with them that you know will never end, to having the business side of putting the product on the (field), putting the money elsewhere and bringing in younger guys and making calls like that. ... Me and Shaq have a relationship, as I do with most of the guys, that will expand far beyond football.”

The post-June 1 release of Barrett would incur dead-cap hits of $9.3 million in 2024 and $17.4 million in 2025. However, it would also provide $5 million in cap relief for 2024.

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